County Down woman ordered to pay £1,000 compensation after judge rules dog attacked an Amazon delivery driver

County Down woman ordered to pay £1,000 compensation after judge rules dog attacked an Amazon delivery driver

A KIRCUBBIN woman has been ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to an Amazon delivery driver who, a judge ruled, was bitten by a dog as he delivered a parcel to the defendant's home.

Irene Brooks, a retired ambulance worker, of Quarter Road, had contested a charge of being the keeper of a dog which attacked the courier, Martin Loughran, on November 30, 2020.

At Newtownards Magistrates Court she was convicted of the offence and given a one year conditional discharge by District Judge Amanda Brady, in light of what the judge described as the "hefty" amount the defendant, who had a previously clear record, has to pay.

As well as the £1,000 compensation, the defendant also has to pay costs associated with taking the case to court of £426.

The judge said: "I don't want to destroy the dog" and she was told "licence conditions" would be looked at regarding the pet.

The courier told the court he had previously been at the address without incident but on November 30 last year whilst delivering a parcel at the property a number of dogs ran out of the house and he was bitten "three or four times" by a dog including on the arm.

He had to get a tetanus injection and staples.

He said the wound was deep and he was unable to drive.

During the incident he said he heard an elderly man telling him, aggressively, telling that he was "trespassing".

The courier said he ran into the kitchen of the house where the dogs continued to surround him.

He said he was unaware of any signage referring to 'dogs' and 'caution' and denied he had opened the door, letting the dogs out.

He also denied that he had cut his arm on a latch.

Mrs Brooks told the court she helped disinfect and treat the man's wound.

Her husband Philip Brooks, a retired firefighter, said he had not opened the door to let the dogs out.

Judge Brady said she accepted the evidence of Mr Loughran in its entirety, adding: "He was a man doing a job. He had been to that particular house before and had no issues, going in and out of the same gate, going to the same door, no issues, nobody said to him on that occasion 'you shouldn't be here'.

"This family obviously knew that they had ordered something from Amazon. Amazon tell you when they are going to arrive on the day.

"They would have been expecting that somebody was going to come to their door at some stage with a parcel.

"The photographs I have been shown have a number of signs on the gate."

She said, on the Brooks' case, some of the signs had not been there on the day of the incident.

The judge added: "I accept the evidence of Mr Loughran that he knocked on the door as you would expect, the door was opened. I accept his evidence it was opened by Mr Brooks and the dogs came out and attacked him.

"I think perhaps Mr Brooks realised there was an issue now his dogs had attacked someone and then he immediately starts calling 'trespasser'.

"I think Mr Loughran was a man doing a job. They would have been expecting someone from Amazon. I think he was the victim of a very unpleasant attack and I do not think the Brooks have any defence to rely on.

"I don't think he was a trespasser. He received a very significant wound and he also had a very frightening, unpleasant, experience."